Water Cooperation and Diplomacy

Students in this Programme will cultivate cutting-edge skills in water cooperation and diplomacy by 1) establishing a strong theoretical and applied understanding of peace and conflict studies and water management and governance, 2) gaining hands-on skills training in both the Global South and Global North contexts for actual water dispute resolution processes, and 3) networking with a wide variety of experts, professionals, and representatives in the field of water and governance.

The Water Cooperation and Diplomacy Programme is jointly delivered by IHE Delft Institute for Water Education in the Netherlands, the University for Peace (UPEACE) in Costa Rica, and Oregon State University (OSU). 

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    What is Joint Programme

    Part of the programme is given at a partner institute, often in another country/continent. Joint programmes have varying start and end dates.

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Joint Programme, San Jose (Costa Rica), Delft (the Netherlands) and Oregon (USA)20 Months, starts in August

Interested in this MSc programme?

 Application for the academic period 2018 - 2020 will open in October 2017. Check our website or subscribe to our newsletter to stay updated.


For whom?

The content of the programme is structured to reach out to a broad audience, thus no prior knowledge of conflicts and peace studies or of the water sector is required. 

Participants are expected to be professionals, preferably with several years of relevant work experience. They may be involved in topics directly or indirectly related to water management and from the water sector or other relevant sectors, such as current or future water managers, decision-makers and others involved in dealing with or interested in the fields of planning, regulating, and managing access, allocation, and control of water resources and services at various scales. Other categories include civil servants from ministries involved in water management, diplomatic staff, local authorities, river basin organizations, professionals from the UN and other international organizations, local and international NGOs, water users associations, universities and research institutes, and consultants. Another possible category is professionals involved in dispute resolution wanting to include water-related issues to their portfolio of activities. In addition, motivated individuals from another background wanting to change career orientation and work in this field, will also be welcome.


The Water Cooperation and Diplomacy programme is delivered by UPEACE, IHE Delft, and OSU. Students will be able to choose from a project or thesis option, with further opportunities to specialize based on skills and future career goals. Students will be awarded an MA and an MS. Each option results in different degrees issued from the participating institutions.


Start: 01 August 2018
Application deadline: 01 April 2018

Learning objectives

  • Articulate the complexities of socio-natural processes
  • Discuss and compare theories and dimensions of conflict and its avoidance, management and resolution
  • Critically analyse water disputes (including actors, policies, institutions, historical, social and bio-physical processes
  • Identify and analyse issues, challenges and potential conflicts of water allocation and access to water resources at different scales
  • Use an interdisciplinary approach to critically assess and evaluate conflict management tools and techniques available to deal with water-related disputes
  • Apply conflict management tools and design conflict resolution processes with the aim of mitigating water management disputes
  • Research the selection and application of adequate methodologies and techniques of water conflict management tools and formulate well-founded conclusions and recommendations

Structure & contents

Participants attend the common and core taught element of the programme in all three institutions, starting with UPEACE, then IHE Delft and OSU. They will focus on different areas at each institution. Students start in August at UPEACE in Costa Rica and focus on conflict foundation including courses on the UN system, the environment, conflicts and sustainability, and water security and peace.

  • August - November

    UPEACE, Costa Rica
    • Various modules at UPEACE, Costa Rica Required
      • Orientation I, 1 day, August
      • Socio-hydrology, 2 weeks, August
      • Orientation II, 2 days, August
      • UPEACE Foundations Course, 3 weeks, August-Sept.
      • General Course on the UN System, 2 weeks, September
      • Environment, Conflicts and Sustainability, 3 weeks, October
      • Water Security and Peace (concept, theories, and field course), 3 weeks, October-November
      • Management of Coastal Resources (concepts, theories and field course), 3 weeks, November

In December students move to IHE Delft, the Netherlands and focus on water and conflict management.

  • December - May

    • Various modules at IHE Delft, Netherlands Required
      • Water governance, 2 weeks, December
      • Water governance, 1 week, January
      • Water economics 3 weeks, January
      • Water law, 3 weeks, February
      • Water conflict management I, 3 weeks, March
      • Water conflict management II, 3 weeks, March-April
      • Elective module, 3 weeks, April-May
      • Research Methodology + Thesis proposal work, 2 weeks, May

In June the year after, students move to OSU in Oregon, USA and focus on conflict management integration. An important element of the programme at OSU is the collaborative project undertaken by the students jointly as a group. This research project may be conducted within the scope of activities of the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) as part of the ICIWaRM*. Completion of the collaborative project will reinforce the conceptual and theoretical background provided earlier in the programme, give students an opportunity to experience an interdisciplinary working environment, and help prepare them for real-world collaboration on water-related projects. (*ICIWaRM is a UNESCO Category 2 Research Centre headquartered at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Institute for Water Resources (IWR) in Alexandria, Virginia, USA.)

  • June - September

    Oregon, USA
    • Various modules at OSU, USA Required
      • Natural Resources Leadership Academy, 1 week, June
      • Applied Hydrology, 1 week, June
      • Applied Field Problems/Technical and Academic Writing in Water Resources, 3 weeks, June-July
      • Conducting Collaborative Projects /Writing in Water Resources, 4 weeks, July-August
      • Collaborative Project/Directed Research, 3 weeks, August-September

Students will be able to choose either a project or thesis option and be awarded an MA and an MSc in Water Cooperation and Peace, depending on whether or not they intend to carry out original thesis research. Successful students graduate in April after a a six-month thesis phase at either IHE Delft, UPEACE or OSU. Students who wish to pursue legal studies and train in water law, will be able to seek admission to the School of Law at the University of Oregon for a Master of Law or JD degrees, but these arrangements are in addition to the WCP programme, and would be made separately.

Tuition & fellowships

Information to follow shortly. Please contact us should you have an urgent query.

Application & Admission

Admission Criteria

As a minimum academic requirement, students will be expected to have an undergraduate degree in a relevant discipline such as political science, economics, law, hydrology, engineering, geography or water resources. Prior professional experience will not be a requirement but an excellent knowledge of and fluency in English is required (particularly because of the interactive elements of the course). Applicants will be carefully screened during the selection process to ensure they meet the requirements of the programme. 

Minimum Requirements

1. Baccalaureate degree or equivalent

First, applicants must have completed a baccalaureate degree (BA, BS) or equivalent from an accredited college or university in order to qualify. Because this Programme is an intensive course of study, demonstrated academic excellence is a must. Prospective applicants should have achieved a minimum GPA of 3.0 out of 4.0 or the equivalent in their baccalaureate studies.

2. Proficiency in English

Since coursework will be conducted in the English language, applicants whose native language is not English must demonstrate proficiency in English by achieving either a score of 90 on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or a score of 7.0 on the International English Language Test (IELTS).

3. Funding

In order for us to successfully assist with visa applications for entry into each country of the partner institutions, students must be able to demonstrate that they have sufficient funding to complete the Programme. Applicants must be able to provide either an affidavit of financial support from a sponsor or an affidavit demonstrating sufficient personal funds that would allow the student to complete the Programme. Some scholarship funding may be available, however, it will be allocated to students admitted to the program on a competitive basis.

4. Work experience

Finally, owing to the nature of the Programme, previous cross-cultural involvement and work experience in fields related to water resources and/or water cooperation are also desirable.

Application Materials

Applications for the 2018 start of the programme will open in October 2017. Please check this page again at that time

Please submit the following required application materials:

  1. English Proficiency Test Scores Report (TOEFL, IELTS)
  2. Statement of Purpose
  3. Letters of Recommendation
  4. Official Undergraduate Transcripts
  5. Copy of Undergraduate Diploma
  6. Curriculum Vitae or Résumé
  7. Financial Form**
  8. Copy of Passport
  9. If you have taken the GRE, please submit your GRE scores

**The financial forms required vary, depending on the source of your funding as follows:

  • If your sponsor is a company or an institute: submit a letter from your sponsor, in which they confirm that all costs as mentioned in the cost table will be covered;
  • If your sponsor is an individual (family member, friend): submit a letter from your sponsor, in which he/she confirms that all costs as mentioned in the cost table will be covered including proof of the funds being available (bank statement)
  • If you will be covering the costs yourself: submit a letter in which you confirm that all costs as mentioned in the cost table will be covered including proof of the funds being available (bank statement)

Apply here

Admissions Procedure

Following initial review of application materials, applicants who are being considered for admission will be asked to participate in a brief interview with the Joint Management Committee of the Programme (JMC) before final selection to the Programme. 

Students will receive notification of their admission by email the following week, followed by a signed letter of admission. The first classes in the joint Programme will be conducted at the University for Peace in Ciudad Colón, Costa Rica, starting in August each year (beginning with the UPEACE Foundations Course UPM 6001 – see the online course catalog at U Peace for specific details on start of term dates for the coming year).

Questions about the application process for the University for Peace should be directed to:
Antonela Alpízar at the University for Peace specialprogrammes@upeace.org

Questions specific to admission to Oregon State University for the US portion of the programme should be directed to:

Rosemary Garagnani, Registrar rosemary.garagnani@oregonstate.edu

Questions about the course content or curriculum at each institution should be directed to the JMC member at that partner institution as follows: